Swiss champions FC Basel are on
a roll and are convinced they can pull off another upset by
knocking Bayern Munich out of the Champions League on Tuesday,
leading scorer Alex Frei said on Monday.
Frei and striking partner Marco Streller said Swiss teams
had often lacked self-belief in the past, but this would not be
the case when Basel, unbeaten in 17 games in all competitions,
defended a 1-0 first-leg lead at the Allianz Arena in their
"We are on a run, we have luck on our side at the moment and
we're always good for a goal or two," Frei, the all-time leading
scorer for the Swiss national side, told reporters.
"In the last few years, the self-belief in all Swiss sport
has improved. We have a 1-0 lead, everything is open and that
speaks for the quality of our team."
Basel are attempting to become the first Swiss side to reach
the quarter-finals of Europe's top club competition since
Grasshoppers in 1979 in the days of the old European Cup.
They have already knocked out Manchester United, qualifying
at the expense of the English champions after drawing 3-3 away
and beating them 1-0 at home in the group stage.
Frei and Streller, who have both quit international
football, are the elder statesmen in a team which includes young
players such as Xherdan Shaqiri (20), Granit Xhaka (19), Fabian
Frei - unrelated to Alex - (23), Valentin Stocker (22) and
goalkeeper Yann Sommer (23).
"Our young players have learnt at a very young age not to be
overawed and do not tremble at the thought of facing big teams.
That gives us the belief that we can pull off a sensation," said
"This is the sort of game that comes along once in a hundred
years, it's a very rare moment.
"If we can score, that makes it that much more difficult for
Bayern. They are a top team, but they are under pressure. It
will be very difficult for us, but we have a chance."
Basel scored in every away game in their group and Frei said
they would have to do so again if they wanted to go through.
"If we want to go further we must score an away goal," said
the 32-year-old who scored 42 goals in 84 appearances for
Switzerland and is Basel's leading scorer in both the Swiss
League, with 14 goals, and the Champions League, with five.
"We're conscious that we must survive the first wave of
pressure and try to deliver a lucky punch," added coach Heiko
Vogel, a former Bayern youth team coach. "I won't tell my team
just to sit back and defend; we must be courageous."
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